B.C.’s information and privacy commissioner to probe Vancouver City Hall, Vision Vancouver. CityHallWatch meeting set Nov 19

The Province video screen 9-Nov-2015(As the B.C. Government is in the spotlight for triple deleting e-mails at the highest level to thwart freedom of information (FOI) legislation, it turns out that the City of Vancouver and its ruling party, Vision Vancouver, are entering into the spotlight for similar reasons. The Province newspaper posted a story this evening by investigative reporter Bob Mackin, with a six-minute video featuring him and staffer Dharm Makwana on the topic. Below are a few links to the extensive article, which features many specific examples and much documentation.)

Knowing now that B.C.’s info/privacy commissioner is looking into the situation in Vancouver, CityHallWatch has scheduled a meeting as follows

CityHallWatch Meeting on City of Vancouver’s FOI investigation
5:30 – 6:30 pm, Thursday, November 19, 2015
Venue to be announced. E-mail citizenYVR@gmail.com if interested
Content: A brief presentation about the situation, then discussion of how citizens or groups can compile their info for specific submissions to the commissioner for this review of the City’s information policies.November is a critical period for this preparation.

Now we provide a few excerpts of the article.

‘No real excuse for deleting emails’: Vancouver City Hall secrets probed by privacy czar
Commissioner Denham looking at Vision Vancouver’s access to information practices
By Bob Mackin, The Province, 9-Nov-2015
http://www.theprovince.com/news/real+excuse+deleting+emails+vancouver+city+hall+secrets/11505186/story.html

In the wake of a scathing report from the Office of Freedom of Information that revealed Premier Christy Clark’s office regularly deleted all emails, The Province has learned the same thing is going on at Vancouver City Hall.

B.C.’s information and privacy commissioner is probing Vancouver City Hall, The Province has learned.

Commissioner Elizabeth Denham wasn’t available Monday, but according to a statement from her office: “The upcoming project will be focused on the City of Vancouver’s access to information practices. The project has only just been initiated, no timelines have been established.”

City hall spokesman Jag Sandhu said documentation is being provided to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, but “any questions regarding the assessment including the timeline should be directed to OIPC.”

The probe comes in the wake of Denham’s damning Oct. 22 report on the B.C. government that found a pattern of widespread email deleting in the government, including the Office of Premier Christy Clark.

Earlier this year, one of Denham’s investigators confirmed that Mayor Gregor Robertson’s chief of staff, Mike Magee, also mass-deletes his email….

… NPA Coun. George Affleck said that he backs up his email monthly. “Everything that we do has the potential to be on the public record, so you always keep that in mind. There is no real excuse for deleting emails. There is a simple way to keep all your emails and for me, when I get an FOI, it makes it much easier to find those emails when they’re actually there.”

At his 2008 swearing-in, Robertson vowed: “I will not let you down on making city hall more open and accountable.”

But, there were serious questions about FOI evasion at Vancouver City Hall during Vision Vancouver’s first term in office.

…’NO-RECORDS’ PROBLEM PERSISTS AT CITY HALL TOO

Numerous files between 2013 and 2015 suggest Vancouver City Hall has some of the same “no-records” problems as the B.C. Liberal government.

… • Guidelines for social-media use and internal corporate communications memos.

When the city does have some records, it sometimes leaves the requester expecting much more:

***

The article give specific examples where the FOI response by the City was incomplete.

For the full article, please click here.

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